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Software correlation, where a correlation algorithm written in a high-level language such as C++ is run on commodity computer hardware, has become increasingly attractive for small to medium sized and/or bandwidth constrained radio interferometers. In particular, many long baseline arrays (which typically have fewer than 20 elements and are restricted in observing bandwidth by costly recording hardware and media) have utilized software correlators for rapid, cost-effective correlator upgrades to allow compatibility with new, wider bandwidth recording systems and improve correlator flexibility. The DiFX correlator, made publicly available in 2007, has been a popular choice in such upgrades and is now used for production correlation by a number of observatories and research groups worldwide. Here we describe the evolution in the capabilities of the DiFX correlator over the past three years, including a number of new capabilities, substantial performance improvements, and a large amount of supporting infrastructure to ease use of the code. New capabilities include the ability to correlate a large number of phase centers in a single correlation pass, the extraction of phase calibration tones, correlation of disparate but overlapping sub-bands, the production of rapidly sampled filterbank and kurtosis data at minimal cost, and many more. The latest version of the code is at least 15% faster than the original, and in certain situations many times this value. Finally, we also present detailed test results validating the correctness of the new code.
The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) has been enabled by the Commensal Real-time ASKAP Fast Transients Collaboration (CRAFT) to detect Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) in real-time and save raw antenna voltages containing FRB detections. CELEBI, the CRAFT Effortless Localization and Enhanced Burst Inspection pipeline, extends CRAFT’s existing software to process ASKAP voltages to produce sub-arcsecond precision localizations and polarimetric data at time resolutions as fine as 3 ns of FRB events. CELEBI uses Nextflow (ascl:2305.024) to link together Bash and Python code to perform software correlation, interferometric imaging, and beamforming, thereby making use of common astronomical software packages.